Oh this year we’re off to sunny Spain!

On a rainy dull and very windy Saturday, Dylan and I set sail for Spain. Twenty nine hours on a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander – what could possibly go wrong?

We turned up at the ferry port. Dylan, as usual, asleep the minute she gets in a car. The wind was gathering and the ferry was rocking.

Pet people are the last to board – and oh the indignity Dylan had to wear a muzzle to get to our pet friendly cabin! She was not a Happy Welshie.

Finally onboard and we decided to explore the dog deck. Where the wind was ricocheting around, making Dylan’s ears flap!

But undeterred Dyls explored the dog deck with as much gusto as the elements and decided this was a new social occasion to be embraced.

Bertie the Spaniel was first to get the Dylan meet and greet. His owners told me he wasn’t settling to life on board. Unlike Dylan who was taking to the high seas like Captain Pugwash! Trotting up to every pooch that came on deck as if it was her own private cocktail party.

Then suddenly Dylan stopped dead. Looked at the newest arrival and then turned and looked at me as if to say “What the…..”

The newbie was a Pyrenean Mountain Dog and was bloody huge despite being only ten months old.

The other pet owners steered their little ones away. Dylan marched straight in. Because despite his size, the mountain dog was still a puppy and wanted to play, though Dyls did jump a bit as his paws came crashing down like trees being felled!

Meanwhile the wind got blustery, the rain lashed down and we decided to retire to our cabin.

I left Dyls and went in search of chicken for her dinner. When I got back we went for another stroll. But uh oh the inner decks were being swabbed. Dyls never one to miss an opportunity grabbed the mop the poor crew member had rested against the side for a second and refused to give it up!

Luckily she saw the funny side and eventually said mop was returned to its owner. Dylan trotted round the deck looking very pleased with herself!

But the next incident was my fault. Juggling a coffee and a Welshie and on a swaying ship, I lost Dylan’s lead – and she was off. Running round deck 9 like a greyhound, lead clanking behind her. It’s a maze of turns and tunnel like corridors. Was a case of I saw her, went to grab her and she disappeared down another tunnel. Eventually a laughing South African man managed to grab her lead and return her.

He told me he was travelling to Viga and had not long lost his wife and this was a special place for them both – so was a particularly emotional trip. He also told me he and his wife had Welsh terriers and loved them. And much to Dylan’s delight he proclaimed Dylan to be the finest looking dog on board!

This lovely man said he had been feeling quite down, but he couldn’t believe it when he turned a corner and a little Welsh terrier was zooming towards him. The memories he said it brought back were priceless.

The next day everyone was saying how rough the crossing had been – Dyls and I are clearly made of stern stuff as we slept right through it!

And so we arrived in sunny Spain! Not! The rain in Spain was falling mainly in Santander, along with fog and 10 degree temperature!

But off we set, up mountain roads, through tunnels and across viaducts, trusting the sat nav to point us in the right direction. Because to be honest you couldn’t see a bloody thing in front of you!

Another overnight just south of Madrid and we were back on the road, the landscape turning from deep lush green to vanilla coloured with thousands of olive groves. The sun beamed down on us. We drove through the breathtaking mountains of Granada and four hours later saw the signs for Coin – our new home.

And waiting there for us was Dylan’s new little sister. How would that work out? Would the little one learn to love a mop? And would spoiled only child Dylan take to a new member of the family…

In anticipation of this meeting it seemed only fitting to celebrate the end of the journey with a glass of Rioja! Salud!

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